Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/16/1996 08:07 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                            
                         April 16, 1996                                        
                           8:07 a.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Representative Jeannette James, Chair                                         
 Representative Scott Ogan, Vice Chair                                         
 Representative Joe Green                                                      
 Representative Ivan Ivan                                                      
 Representative Brian Porter                                                   
 Representative Caren Robinson                                                 
 Representative Ed Willis                                                      
                                                                               
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
                                                                               
 All members present.                                                          
                                                                               
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
                                                                               
 HOUSE BILL NO. 136                                                            
 "An Act mandating the sale of the Alaska Railroad; and providing              
 for an effective date."                                                       
                                                                               
      - HEARD AND HELD                                                         
                                                                               
 HOUSE BILL NO. 545                                                            
 "An Act relating to the cost-of-living differential for certain               
 public employees residing in the state and the criteria for                   
 determining eligibility for the differential; and providing for an            
 effective date."                                                              
                                                                               
      - PASSED CSHB 545(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                  
                                                                               
 HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 61                                                 
 Opposing the proposed changes in the functions of the federal                 
 Office of Veterans Affairs in Anchorage.                                      
                                                                               
      - PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                
                                                                               
 HOUSE BILL NO. 546                                                            
 "An Act providing for and relating to the issuance of general                 
 obligation bonds in the amount of $600,211,000 for the purpose of             
 paying the cost of acquiring, constructing, reconstructing, and               
 equipping public schools and of repair and major maintenance of               
 public school and University of Alaska facilities; and providing              
 for an effective date."                                                       
                                                                               
      - HEARD AND HELD                                                         
                                                                               
 HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 34                                                 
 Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska             
 relating to the duration of a regular session.                                
                                                                               
      - PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                
 HOUSE BILL NO. 490                                                            
 "An Act relating to grants and other financial assistance                     
 authorized or made by the Alaska Science and Technology Foundation            
 for the BIDCO assistance program."                                            
                                                                               
      - WAIVED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 136                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: MANDATE SALE OF ALASKA RAILROAD                                  
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MARTIN                                          
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE      JRN-PG            ACTION                                        
 01/30/95       174    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/30/95       174    (H)   TRA, STA, FIN                                     
 04/03/96              (H)   TRA AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 17                        
 04/03/96              (H)   MINUTE(TRA)                                       
 04/09/96              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 04/10/96              (H)   TRA AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 17                        
 04/11/96              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 04/12/96              (H)   FIN AT  1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                 
 04/12/96      3691    (H)   TRA RPT  CS(TRA) NT 1DP 5NR 1AM                   
 04/12/96      3692    (H)   DP: G.DAVIS                                       
 04/12/96      3692    (H)   NR: WILLIAMS, SANDERS, LONG, JAMES                
 04/12/96      3692    (H)   NR: MASEK                                         
 04/12/96      3692    (H)   AM: BRICE                                         
 04/12/96      3692    (H)   INDETERMINATE FISCAL NOTE (DCED)                  
 04/12/96      3692    (H)   FISCAL NOTE (LAW)                                 
 04/12/96      3692    (H)   2 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (GOV, DOT)                    
 04/12/96      3692    (H)   REFERRED TO STATE AFFAIRS                         
 04/13/96              (H)   FIN AT  1:00 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                 
 04/16/96              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 545                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: PUB. EMPLOYEE COST OF LIVING DIFFERENTIAL                        
 SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                  
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE      JRN-PG            ACTION                                        
 03/22/96      3269    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 03/22/96      3269    (H)   STATE AFFAIRS, FINANCE                            
 03/22/96      3269    (H)   3 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (ADM, REV, DOT)               
 03/22/96      3269    (H)   GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                     
 04/04/96              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 04/04/96              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 04/09/96              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 04/09/96              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 04/11/96              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 04/11/96              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 04/13/96              (H)   STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 04/13/96              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 04/16/96              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
                                                                               
 BILL:  HJR 61                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: ANCHORAGE VETERANS AFFAIRS OFFICE                                
 SPONSOR(S): STATE AFFAIRS                                                     
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE      JRN-PG            ACTION                                        
 03/08/96      3029    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 03/08/96      3029    (H)   MLV, STATE AFFAIRS                                
 03/22/96              (H)   MLV AT  5:00 PM CAPITOL 17                        
 03/22/96              (H)   MINUTE(MLV)                                       
 03/25/96      3308    (H)   MLV RPT  4DP                                      
 03/25/96      3309    (H)   DP: FOSTER, WILLIS, KOTT, IVAN                    
 03/25/96      3309    (H)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (H.MLV/GOV)                      
 04/04/96              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 04/04/96              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 04/16/96              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 546                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: G.O. BONDS: SCHOOLS & UNIV.                                      
 SPONSOR(S): STATE AFFAIRS                                                     
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE      JRN-PG            ACTION                                        
 03/22/96      3270    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 03/22/96      3270    (H)   STA, HES, FINANCE                                 
 03/26/96              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 03/26/96              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 04/04/96              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 04/04/96              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 04/09/96              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 04/09/96              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 04/11/96              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 04/11/96              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 04/16/96              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
                                                                               
 BILL:  HJR 34                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: LIMIT LEGISLATIVE SESSION TO 90 DAYS                             
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) SANDERS                                         
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE      JRN-PG            ACTION                                        
 03/08/95       641    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 03/08/95       641    (H)   STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                 
 03/28/96              (H)   STA AT  8:15 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 03/28/96              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 03/30/96              (H)   STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 03/30/96              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 04/04/96              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 04/04/96              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 04/09/96              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 04/09/96              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 04/11/96              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 04/12/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 04/16/96              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
                                                                               
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TERRY MARTIN                                                   
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 502                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3783                                                    
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Sponsor of HB 136.                                     
                                                                               
 JEFF COOK, Vice President                                                     
 MAPCO Alaska Petroleum Inc.                                                   
 1076 Ocean Dock Road                                                          
 Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 276-4100                                                    
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Provided testimony on HB 136.                          
                                                                               
 DAVID THOMPSON, Conductor                                                     
 Alaska Railroad Corporation                                                   
 327 Ship Creek Avenue                                                         
 Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 265-2459                                                    
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Provided testimony on HB 136.                          
                                                                               
 PATRICK GULLUFSEN, Assistant District Attorney                                
 Governmental Affairs Section                                                  
 Civil Division                                                                
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3600                                                    
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Provided testimony on HB 545.                          
                                                                               
 JULIE KNUTSON                                                                 
 HC 60 P.O. Box 229K                                                           
 Copper Center, Alaska 99573                                                   
 Telephone:  (907) 822-3717                                                    
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Provided testimony on HB 546.                          
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JERRY SANDERS                                                  
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 414                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4945                                                    
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Sponsor of HJR 34.                                     
                                                                               
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-53, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 0015                                                                   
                                                                               
 The House State Affairs Committee was called to order by Chair                
 Jeannette James at 8:07 a.m.  Members present at the call to order            
 were Representatives Willis, Ivan, Porter, Ogan and James.  Members           
 absent were Representatives Robinson and Green.                               
                                                                               
 The record reflected the arrival of Representatives Robinson and              
 Green at 8:09 a.m.                                                            
 HB 136 - MANDATE SALE OF ALASKA RAILROAD                                    
                                                                               
 The first order of business to come before the House State Affairs            
 Committee was CSHB 136(TRA) (9-LS0438/G).                                     
                                                                               
 CHAIR JEANNETTE JAMES called on Representative Terry Martin,                  
 sponsor of HB 136, to present the bill to the committee members.              
                                                                               
 Number 0149                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TERRY MARTIN explained his intention to sponsor HB             
 136 was to determine what the state had.  The railroad was now a              
 hot subject, it had received a few offers to buy it.  Therefore,              
 everyone was wondering what should be done with it.  He explained,            
 according to an audit, there were hundreds of thousands of acres              
 involved.  He cited Girdwood, Whittier, Seward, half of downtown              
 Fairbanks and Anchorage as areas where there was land involved.               
 The state had completed its commitment to the federal government to           
 keep it running for 10 years.  He agreed the state did a fabulous             
 job allowing it to run independently.  However, the reason it was             
 able to run on its own was because of the land.  The land had been            
 subsidizing it to keep it running.  He reiterated, "let's see what            
 we have."  He suggested starting by transferring the land from the            
 federal government to the state government.  He did not care who              
 received the land for the state, but an orderly transfer was                  
 necessary.  He said the railroad corporation had already started              
 transferring some select property but there was no way to know for            
 sure.  He reiterated the land and the railroad belonged to the                
 state.  It was time to see what the state had, and outline an                 
 orderly process in the event the state wanted to sell the land.               
                                                                               
 Number 0357                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER asked Representative Martin what this             
 bill provided to the state?                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 0365                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN replied right now it was open.  The bill                
 stated it would complete the commitment to sell the railroad as               
 promised in 1982.  He explained, historically, many felt the state            
 would get stuck with "a goose that wouldn't fly."  The federal                
 government was willing to buy it for $100 million.  The state did             
 not want to buy it for that much money, however.  The offer was               
 followed by debate.  Finally, the state bought it for $20 million.            
 He reiterated it was time again to look at what the state had.                
                                                                               
 Number 0470                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES explained HB 136 was waived from the House State                  
 Affairs Committee last week.  However, there was impetus in both              
 the House and the Senate to move forward with a mandatory sale of             
 the railroad.  She informed the committee members there was a                 
 committee substitute now being drafted of which would be presented            
 later.  There would not be any action taken on the bill today.                
                                                                               
 Number 0578                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN explained his staff was working close with              
 the Senate so they knew better than anybody the status of the bills           
 in both chambers.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 0635                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN further said he hoped that the two major                
 programs could be pushed through the House.  He reiterated it was             
 important to determine what the state had.  The House Budget and              
 Audit Committee had the capability to determine what the state had            
 so that the state could sell what it wanted.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 0692                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said she understood the concerns of Representative                
 Martin.  She was concerned, however, about returning the land back            
 to the state.  She was more interested in having the land                     
 developed.  Furthermore, she was also more interested in a bigger             
 railroad, not a smaller railroad.  Therefore, land acquisitions               
 were necessary.  It appeared that some of the land Representative             
 Martin mentioned would have good trading stock value.  Therefore,             
 selling the land was premature.                                               
                                                                               
 Number 0784                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN replied Senator Bennett from Fairbanks was              
 the last person to study the value of the land surrounding the                
 railroad.  He looked at expanding the railroad east from Fairbanks            
 to Dawson.  It was time to resurrect those reports to see what the            
 state had.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 0827                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES replied in 1993 legislation was passed that authorized            
 $10,000 to identify the cost of securing private interest for the             
 land.  She suggested checking the status of that money.                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said the state could save money by                      
 researching what had been done before.  The state was almost at the           
 point of being beyond the point of research, action was the next              
 step.                                                                         
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called on the first witness via teleconference in                 
 Anchorage, Jeff Cook.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 0887                                                                   
                                                                               
 JEFF COOK, Vice President, MAPCO Alaska Petroleum Inc., explained             
 his company was the largest customer of the Alaska Railroad                   
 Corporation.  He cited the company leased over 350 rail anchor cars           
 to move oil.  In 1995 the company paid more than $23 million to the           
 Alaska Railroad Corporation.  MAPCO was very concerned about the              
 sale of the railroad in view of the long-term contracts of which              
 about 12 years remain.  MAPCO had an excellent relationship and               
 strategic alliance with it.  Furthermore, MAPCO was very happy with           
 the service it had received.  MAPCO felt the bill was moving too              
 fast.  He suggested an interim committee or task force to look at             
 the issue further and to include the major customers, such as                 
 MAPCO, as a participant.                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1051                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked Mr. Cook, if a piece of legislation               
 included the procedure that he just described, would he support               
 moving the bill forward?                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1063                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. COOK replied "yes."  He would support a bill that included the            
 approach he indicated.                                                        
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called on the first witness in Juneau, David Thompson.            
                                                                               
 Number 1083                                                                   
                                                                               
 DAVID THOMPSON, Conductor, Alaska Railroad Corporation, said he was           
 here today representing conductors and engineers of the Alaska                
 Railroad Corporation.  They were concerned because the bill did not           
 address how the railroad would operate in the future.  Furthermore,           
 when the railroad went from federal ownership to state ownership,             
 many employees remained in the federal retirement system.  He                 
 suggested looking into that issue further before another transfer             
 of owners.  He said this would affect 186 employees.  He reiterated           
 there were many issues that had not been addressed in the bill.  It           
 took four years for the first transfer, therefore, more time was              
 needed to look at the issues further.                                         
                                                                               
 Number 1169                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON asked Mr. Thompson, if his group had            
 also considered a task force approach, and if so, who would he                
 recommend be a part of that task force?                                       
                                                                               
 Number 1190                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. THOMPSON replied they had not discussed the formation of a task           
 force.  He suggested including union representation as part of the            
 task force.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 1218                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked what was the time schedule for the joint           
 task force?                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES responded the issues of how big, the members, the time            
 frame, and the goals still needed to be addressed.                            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN wondered if it would happen before the end of            
 session.                                                                      
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES replied the committee substitute that addressed this              
 would be here by Thursday, April 18, 1996.  Furthermore, she was              
 opposed to any fast track sale of the Alaska Railroad Corporation.            
 She did not want to give away state assets.  As a legislator she              
 was responsible to maximize whatever the state had, and to protect            
 the employees of the railroad.                                                
 HB 545 - PUB. EMPLOYEE COST OF LIVING DIFFERENTIAL                          
                                                                               
 The next order of business to come before the House State Affairs             
 Committee was CSHB 545(STA) (9-GH2067/F).                                     
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called on Patrick Gullufsen, Department of Law, to                
 present the committee substitute.                                             
                                                                               
 Number 1345                                                                   
                                                                               
 PATRICK GULLUFSEN, Assistant Attorney General, Governmental Affairs           
 Section, Civil Division, Department of Law, said the committee                
 substitute addressed the concerns of the definition of state                  
 residency.  The definition was taken directly from the permanent              
 fund dividend (PFD) statute.  The authority was also given to the             
 Commissioner of the Department of Administration to implement and             
 clarify the criteria for the purposes of the cost-of-living                   
 differential (COLD) through regulations.  Furthermore, in                     
 subsection (c), page 2, it clarified that the criteria were not               
 subject to negotiation.  The allowable absences were also clarified           
 that they were temporary absences in comparison to the five year              
 absence for the PFD, for example.  He referred the committee                  
 members to Section 2, subsection (b), and explained it was an                 
 attempt to resolve the dispute if a person was only in the state              
 for purposes of the ferry that time was not counted towards                   
 residency.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1531                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES explained her concerns in the beginning were the issues           
 surrounding a state resident.  She wondered about the seasonal                
 workers on the ferry.  She did not consider them a state resident             
 because they did not live in Alaska during the off-period.                    
 However, she did believe they were entitled to the COLD.  She                 
 recognized that was hard to address in a statute, however.  She               
 further wondered about some of the allowable absences cited in the            
 bill.  She asked Mr. Gullufsen if service in Congress was                     
 reasonable?  She could not imagine a state employee serving time in           
 Congress for any reason.                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1699                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. GULLUFSEN replied it would be an unusual circumstance.  The               
 provision was taken directly from the PFD definition.  It was                 
 possible that a marine highway system employee would run for                  
 Congress and get elected.                                                     
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES replied, in that case, he could not continue to be a              
 state employee.                                                               
                                                                               
 MR. GULLUFSEN said the question to consider was should he lose his            
 residency for the period of time he was in Washington D.C.  The               
 provision would allow him to maintain his residency status to                 
 receive the COLD upon his return.  He reiterated it would be an               
 unusual circumstance.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 1749                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES wondered how long a person had to be in Alaska before             
 he received the COLD.  She also wondered, if a person that just               
 moved to Alaska with the intention to stay, would receive the COLD.           
                                                                               
 Number 1766                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. GULLUFSEN replied, "most likely he would."  He said the issue             
 needed to be looked at harder, however.  He said other criteria               
 needed to be looked at further for additional support, such as,               
 home ownership.  If the person still owned a home in Seattle,                 
 Washington, for example, that was an indication that he did not               
 intend to remain in Alaska.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 1824                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked Mr. Gullufsen if service in the Peace Corps was             
 needed?                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 1827                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. GULLUFSEN replied that was part of the PFD definitions.  He               
 said it would be an unusual circumstance.  It would be unfortunate            
 to exclude eligibility for the COLD upon return from the Peace                
 Corps, however.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 1843                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES stated a COLD was intended to cover the extra cost                
 incurred to live in Alaska.  This could be simply stated.  It was             
 difficult for her to understand that all of these provisions were             
 needed.  She even believed a seasonal employee should receive the             
 COLD while he was living in Alaska.  She felt that the PFD was a              
 benefit to Alaskans, and the COLD was intended to help offset the             
 cost of living in Alaska.  It was a comparison of apples and                  
 oranges.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1910                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said he did not consider a person working               
 seasonally in Alaska then returning to Washington, for example, an            
 Alaskan resident.  That was not the purpose of the COLD.                      
                                                                               
 Number 1924                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES replied the legislators were not Juneau residents when            
 here for session in Juneau.  However, a per diem was paid because             
 it cost money to be here.  She understood that was a different                
 issue, but that was what she envisioned the COLD would be used for.           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER replied when he left Juneau he did not go to            
 Seattle, for example.                                                         
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said she understood the response of Representative                
 Porter.  She wondered about a married couple whereby one worked               
 seasonally in Alaska and the rest of the family remained in                   
 Seattle, for example.  It should be the entire family.  She said              
 she would let the Department of Administration hammer the details             
 out.  She was not convinced the bill would give the department all            
 the necessary tools, however.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 1964                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN wondered if the word "temporarily" would                 
 create a problem for interpretation in the future.                            
                                                                               
 Number 1986                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. GULLUFSEN replied he did not think the word "temporarily" would           
 create a problem.  He felt the word actually helped the issue.                
 Regulations would be needed to address the main and specific                  
 problems that were raised.                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 2010                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said he was not questioning a temporary                  
 absence.  He was concerned that the PFD criteria would cause a                
 problem for the marine highway system.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 2046                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. GULLUFSEN replied, "time will tell."  It was a good point.                
                                                                               
 Number 2051                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON explained a piece of legislation in the               
 Senate addressed eliminating all allowable absences from the PFD              
 program.  She did not know how that would impact the COLD if both             
 bodies decided to accept the legislation.  She asked Mr. Gullufsen            
 how he would draft the bill if there was not a permanent fund                 
 program?                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 2088                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. GULLUFSEN replied he did not know.  He thought the                        
 Administration would look at not allowing any absences.  However,             
 that would present legal and fairness issues.  The Administration             
 would probably look at allowing absences but not opening the door             
 too wide.  It was nice to have the guidance from the PFD program.             
                                                                               
 Number 2121                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES stated if CSHB 545(STA) (9-GH2067/F) was passed the               
 criteria would be put into statute.  Therefore, if the PFD criteria           
 were changed, it would not affect this bill.  She reiterated the              
 criteria for the PFD and the COLD were different because the PFD              
 was based on presence in Alaska rather than residency.  She did not           
 feel that state residency was the way to pursue this issue.                   
 However, the bill was important because it would eliminate the                
 possibility of future arbitration.                                            
                                                                               
 Number 2200                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES further said the bill was premature and had not been              
 thoroughly thought out.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 2219                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER moved that CSHB 545(STA) (9-GH2067/F) be                
 adopted as a working document.  Hearing no objection, it was so               
 adopted.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 2249                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER moved to delete "E" and "G" on page 2.                  
 Representative Robinson objected for discussion purposes.                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said, if someone was to join the Peace Corps            
 or get elected to Congress, he severed the ties with the marine               
 highway system.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 2291                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said if the system wanted to adopt the PFD            
 criteria then it should accept all of the criteria.                           
                                                                               
 Number 2302                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER replied the committee substitute already                
 tailored the criteria.  The PFD was for on-going activity as a                
 resident with certain allowable absences on a long-term basis.  The           
 COLD was for a very specific benefit for a small group of state               
 employees.  The difference was obvious to him.                                
                                                                               
 Number 2324                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said the difference between the two for her was the               
 word "temporarily."  Regulations would be needed to define the word           
 "temporarily."                                                                
                                                                               
 Number 2335                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON responded many of the provisions allowed an           
 absence for one to two years, such as the Peace Corps.  She stated            
 she did not really know what was right either.  She reiterated the            
 provisions were included for a reason for the PFD.                            
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES stated a person could continue to be a state employee             
 according to some of the provisions.  A person, however, that went            
 to the Peace Corps did not continue to be a state employee.                   
                                                                               
 Number 2385                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. GULLUFSEN said the word "temporarily" allowed the                         
 Administration to look at a person in the Peace Corps and determine           
 if there was also a change in residency.  The Administration would            
 prefer to see the provisions remain in the bill.                              
                                                                               
 Number 2431                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said a state resident was one who was physically                  
 present in the state with the intent to remain permanently.  There            
 was nothing in the bill to indicate how long a person had to be in            
 Alaska to receive the COLD.                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called for a roll call vote.  Representatives James,              
 Ogan, Ivan, and Porter voted in favor of the motion.                          
 Representatives Robinson and Willis voted against the motion.  The            
 motion passed.                                                                
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-53, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 0005                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER moved that CSHB 545(STA) (9-GH2067/F) am move           
 from the committee with individual recommendations and attached               
 fiscal notes.  Hearing no objection, it was so moved from the House           
 State Affairs Committee.                                                      
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES announced she would order the committee substitute and            
 distribute it to the committee members before moving it forward to            
 the next committee of referral - the House Judiciary Committee.               
                                                                               
 HJR 61 - ANCHORAGE VETERANS AFFAIRS OFFICE                                  
                                                                               
 The next order of business to come before the House State Affairs             
 Committee was HJR 61.                                                         
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called on Representative Ed Willis to present the                 
 resolution to the committee members.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 0056                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIS explained the thrust of HJR 61 was brought to           
 his attention by several groups of Anchorage veterans.  He intended           
 to start the resolution in the legislative process with the House             
 Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs.  However, a              
 special committee could not introduce legislation after a certain             
 date.  He thanked Chair James for allowing the House State Affairs            
 Committee to sponsor the resolution.                                          
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIS further explained the thrust of the                     
 resolution was to support the Anchorage Veterans Affairs Regional             
 Office as a result of the efforts of the federal government to                
 downsize the office.  The office now handled the compensation and             
 pension functions and the effect of moving those function to Reno,            
 Nevada and Phoenix, Arizona would be inefficient and not in the               
 best interest of Alaska's veterans.  The resolution, if passed,               
 would support the efforts of Alaska's Congressional delegation.  He           
 cited there were more than 73,000 veterans in Alaska, and the                 
 office serviced more than one-half of those veterans.  He                     
 reiterated the thrust of the resolution was to give the Alaskan               
 Congressional delegation another tool to fight the downsizing                 
 efforts of the federal government.                                            
                                                                               
 Number 0152                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said Alaska probably had the highest percentage of                
 veterans in its population compared to any other state.  She agreed           
 the veterans deserved attention from the legislature.  They were a            
 very important part of the population.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 0192                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN thanked Representative Willis for sponsoring              
 the resolution on behalf of the veterans in Alaska.  He asked if              
 the resolution was referred to the House Special Committee on                 
 Military and Veterans' Affairs?                                               
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES replied, "yes."                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN further thanked Representative Willis for his             
 care and support of this resolution.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 0219                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER moved that HJR 61 move from the committee               
 with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes.  Hearing           
 no objection, it was so moved from the House State Affairs                    
 Committee.                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIS thanked the Chair and the committee members             
 for their support.                                                            
                                                                               
 HB 546 - G.O. BONDS: SCHOOLS & UNIV.                                        
                                                                               
 The next order of business to come before the House State Affairs             
 Committee was HB 546.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 0255                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES explained HB 546 was scheduled today as a continuation            
 of the subcommittee to share with everyone the changes.  The                  
 subcommittee was addressing the equitability amongst the                      
 distribution of the money.  There was also discussion surrounding             
 general obligation bonds for locally owned school districts.  It              
 was discovered it had been done a number of times in Alaska before.           
 The bonding capacity needed to be determined, however.  It was                
 indicated it could be $100 million per year.  Therefore, this would           
 need to be stretched out longer than five years.  A handout titled,           
 "FY 97 School District Capital Funding Allocations by Legislative             
 District," was distributed to the committee members.  She explained           
 the total allocation per school district was calculated by                    
 multiplying the educational units generated by each district by               
 $59,000.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 0380                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIS asked if the thrust of HB 546 was to try to             
 balance the programs between the rural and urban areas.                       
                                                                               
 Number 0389                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES replied, "that's correct."  That was what the                     
 subcommittee was attempting to do.                                            
                                                                               
 Number 0417                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER wondered why Mat-Su and Anchorage were                  
 combined in the same district.  He was referring to the handout               
 titled, "FY 97 School District Capital Funding Allocations by                 
 Legislative District."                                                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said Mat-Su had been asking that question for             
 years now.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 0429                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said it was possible to physically separate them on               
 paper.  It did not change the numbers, however.                               
                                                                               
 Number 0439                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER replied Mat-Su would not want any of its                
 money distributed to Anchorage and vice versa.                                
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES reiterated a line could be drawn between the two on               
 paper.  It did not affect the numbers, however.                               
                                                                               
 Number 0480                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said she was concerned about Fairbanks and Denali                 
 because they were combined in the same district as well.  The money           
 allocated for Denali was not enough money for what was needed.  The           
 bill did not meet the needs of her district.  Therefore, she was              
 not that interested in the bill.  That was going to be the typical            
 response of many.  She did not know how her district would get the            
 money to fix the Tri-Valley School.  There were not enough people             
 in the district to pay for a new school.  That was the typical                
 problem for the rural areas.                                                  
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called on the first witness via teleconference in Kenny           
 Lake, Julie Knutson.                                                          
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES announced to Ms. Knutson that the amount allocated to             
 her district in concern was $5,311,923 with a local match of                  
 $108,407.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 0646                                                                   
                                                                               
 JULIE KNUTSON asked if that was for just Kenny Lake, or Kenny Lake            
 and Glennallen?                                                               
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES replied that was for the Copper River regional                    
 education attendance area (REAA).                                             
                                                                               
 MS. KNUTSON said Kenny Lake was in the same position as Anderson.             
 She asked if the bill would benefit Anderson because of the 30                
 percent distribution match?                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 0688                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES replied, "no."  There was only a 2 percent distribution           
 match for Copper River.  She explained she was referring to the               
 Denali area previously, not to the Anderson area.                             
                                                                               
 Number 0731                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. KNUTSON said she was afraid Glennallen would end up with                  
 everything.  Kenny Lake was not happy with the wording of the bill.           
 She said Kenny Lake needed a new school desperately.  The current             
 building was falling apart and was becoming dangerous for the                 
 students.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 0749                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES replied the only way to divide the approximately $6               
 million around the state was through an application process to                
 determine the priorities.  That process had presented problems in             
 the past, however.  Some districts did not apply and there was                
 concern surrounding the Department of Education's (DOE) evaluation            
 process.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 0798                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. KNUTSON replied the Kenny Lake area wanted the legislature to             
 know how badly it needed a new school.                                        
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked Ms. Knutson to define the school needs of Kenny             
 Lake.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 0820                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. KNUTSON replied there were unhoused student, leaky faucets, an            
 old furnace system, icing problems, and an old electrical system,             
 to name a few.  She cited a volunteer was electrocuted due to the             
 electrical problems.                                                          
 CHAIR JAMES thanked Ms. Knutson for her testimony today.                      
                                                                               
 Number 0860                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES announced she did not want to take any action today on            
 HB 546.  Her intention today was to inform the committee members              
 the status of the subcommittee and to take any public testimony.              
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES further explained the original bill considered the                
 priority list of the Department of Education.  She suggested                  
 returning to that list.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 1130                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said the problem with the list from the was           
 that Anchorage was short changed.  She understood it was a matter             
 of shifting dollars which meant that some districts would get less            
 money.                                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 1156                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said the list from DOE reflected those districts that             
 had applied.  It was obvious that Anchorage did not apply for                 
 whatever reasons.                                                             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said Anchorage did not meet the established             
 criteria.                                                                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated Mat-Su was robbed according to the list            
 produced by DOE.                                                              
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked Representative Ogan if Mat-Su applied?                      
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN replied, "he did not know for sure."  He                  
 assumed it did.                                                               
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES replied if a school district was not included on the              
 list, it had not applied.                                                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated if Mat-Su had known this was going to be           
 a bond issue, it would have applied.  If the state was going to               
 fund the schools then he agreed with the proposed approach.                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES suggested giving the school districts a period of time            
 for the application process.  It would behoove the legislature to             
 establish the priorities as opposed to the distribution.                      
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said that was a laudable goal, but it had               
 never happened before.  A distribution would not meet anybody's               
 needs entirely.  That fact needed to be accepted.  Once that was              
 accepted, it could then be said the money was distributed                     
 equitably.                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON suggested considering the districts that              
 had already presented a proposal at the top of the list, while all            
 new applications would be prioritized.  The subcommittee needed to            
 research further why some districts did not send a request.                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES suggested re-opening an application period.  She did              
 not like the idea of putting the already existing proposals at the            
 top of a list.                                                                
                                                                               
 HJR 34 - LIMIT LEGISLATIVE SESSION TO 90 DAYS                               
                                                                               
 The next order of business to come before the House State Affairs             
 Committee was HJR 34.                                                         
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called on Representative Jerry Sander, sponsor of HJR             
 34, to present the resolution to the committee members.                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JERRY SANDERS said this was the same resolution he             
 presented three weeks ago.  If the resolution had been enacted the            
 legislators would have been home by now.  He cited he had received            
 21 constituent calls from his wife advocating for the resolution.             
 He stated the time was now to consider changing the length of the             
 legislative session to 90 days.                                               
                                                                               
 Number 1234                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said due to his years of contracting                      
 experience, a contract typically took the exact number of days                
 allotted.  He believed if the resolution was passed, legislation              
 would be prioritized enhancing the quality.  He supported HJR 34.             
                                                                               
 Number 1282                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIS asked Representative Sanders if he had                  
 considered the change in the balance of power between the                     
 legislature and the Governor?                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 1303                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS replied the Governor was controlled by the             
 public as much as he was controlled by the legislature.  Therefore,           
 the extra time spent at home dealing with constituents would bear             
 more pressure on the Governor than by being in Juneau.                        
                                                                               
 Number 1320                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIS asked Representative Sanders if HJR 34 was              
 drafted to mean 90 days and not 91 days as the present system                 
 operated?                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 1338                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS replied HJR 34 was drafted so that 120 days            
 were substituted with 90 days.  Therefore, it was possible that a             
 session could go 91 days.                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 1366                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said 90 days could be self-imposed right              
 now if that was what the leadership wanted.  There were broader               
 issues concerned here that affected the budget cycle, resolutions,            
 bills presented, and bill crafted, for example.  She said she                 
 supported more interim committee work and more time off during the            
 legislative session to present the work of the committees to the              
 public.  Gavel-to-Gavel definitely involved the public more, but              
 it did not allow individual testimony from the public.  Moreover,             
 this was a very important and serious discussion.  She suggested an           
 interim or subcommittee to look at the issues further.                        
                                                                               
 Number 1540                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN replied if the issue was tabled or put into a             
 subcommittee the resolution was killed.  It was time to "fish or              
 cut bait."                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1572                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES agreed that if the session was shortened to 90 days the           
 work would get done.  More work would be done before arriving in              
 Juneau, for example.  She was not sure of the semantics of the                
 resolution, however.  She suggested keeping the resolution clean so           
 that when it went to the public it would be supported.  She                   
 announced she was willing to move the resolution forward today.               
                                                                               
 Number 1699                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIS stated his major concern was how the balance            
 of power would be affected between the legislature and the                    
 Governor.  He was not sure how he would vote on this resolution               
 when it reached the floor of the House of Representatives.                    
 However, he believed a good healthy debate on the floor would be              
 very helpful to understand the issue and for the people that watch            
 Gavel-to-Gavel.  He would not vote against passing it out of the              
 House State Affairs Committee.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 1799                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER moved that HJR 34 move from the committee               
 with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes.                    
 Representative Robinson objected.  She was the author of two                  
 proposed amendments that had not been heard yet.                              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said there was a motion on the floor so it                
 either needed to be rescinded or action taken.                                
                                                                               
 Number 1866                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER rescinded the motion.  There was no                     
 objection.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1896                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON explained Amendment 1 proposed to change              
 the constitution from an annual to a biennial state budget.  She              
 stated the change would allow state employees to do their job.  By            
 the time the legislature left Juneau, the departments started                 
 working on the next year's budget instead of doing their job.  She            
 believed the amendment would improve the process.                             
                                                                               
 Number 2020                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved to adopted Amendment 1.                         
 Representative Ogan objected.                                                 
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN said he understood the argument that a shorter            
 session would save the state money.  He agreed it would require               
 more organization.                                                            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN further stated Amendment 1 was a substantial              
 change.  He needed time to look at it further and how it would                
 affect the process.  He was afraid it would weigh down the                    
 resolution through the rest of the legislative process.  He would             
 vote against it.                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 2095                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said the idea of a biennial budget was                    
 laudable.  However, the reality of the state budget was such that             
 it fluctuated with the price of oil compared to a stable resource,            
 such as, a state income tax.  He reiterated the budget was too                
 unpredictable, therefore, he would not support the amendment.                 
                                                                               
 Number 2155                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said she would vote against the amendment because it              
 turned the resolution into two issues.  She suggested looking at it           
 again in the future, however.                                                 
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called for a roll call vote.  Representatives James,              
 Ogan, Ivan and Porter voted against the motion.  Representatives              
 Robinson and Willis voted in favor of the motion.  The motion                 
 failed.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 2205                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved to adopted Amendment 2.                         
 Representative Ogan objected.                                                 
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON explained Amendment 2 allowed for a "baby             
 step" change.  It called for the first session to be 120 days and             
 the second session to be 90 days.  The first session was used more            
 for organization and familiarization.  The second session was                 
 before an election season so the shorter session would give more              
 time to go back home, for example.  She reiterated this was a baby            
 step towards the change that Representative Sander's proposed in              
 HJR 34.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 2338                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said he objected to the amendment.  There was             
 enough time during the interim.                                               
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called for a roll call vote.  Representatives James,              
 Ogan, Ivan and Porter voted against the motion.  Representatives              
 Robinson and Willis voted in favor of the motion.  The motion                 
 failed.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 2419                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER moved that HJR 34 move from the committee               
 with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes.  Hearing           
 no objection, it was so moved from the House State Affairs                    
 Committee.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 2449                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked Representative Robinson to present amendments to            
 the Chair before the meeting to prevent the confusion earlier.  She           
 would not have accepted the motion from Representative Porter had             
 she known about the amendments.                                               
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-54, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 0000                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON apologized.  She believed the resolution              
 was going to be put into a subcommittee.                                      
 ADJOURNMENT                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 0065                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES adjourned the House State Affairs Committee meeting at            
 9:45 a.m.                                                                     
                                                                               
                                                                               

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